Saving Money…

Whether you work from home  or just stay home there are several things you can do to save money.  With the way the economy is now, any help in saving money is important, so don’t be afraid to try things out.

Here are some examples of ways to save some money:

  • For those who work from home, or even working in an office, you can take the paper that one side has been used and reuse the back side.  For example, when you are editing or proofreading something, why use good paper, use the back side.  Or if you are printing off your own to do list or even if you take a copy of an agenda to a meeting that expects you to bring your own copy.  It can also be used to make your own notes on.  You can even cut the paper into 4 squares and make a stack and staple them and use as note paper for messages, grocery list, etc.  You would use extra paper from agendas you may have printed off for a meeting you were in charge of or extra reports or things like that.  It can also be useful for those of you with kids to just doodle or color on.
  • Only use coupons on products you use.  If you don’t have animals, then don’t buy animal food with coupons just because it is a good deal.  If you don’t drink coffee or ever serve coffee, then don’t use coupons for coffee.  But, if you don’t have to use a certain brand of food, then be willing to use a coupon to get a better deal for the foods and other items you do use.  Watch out for the end date on the coupons.  If you have some expired coupons you can give them to military families as they can use them for at least 6 months after they expire.
  • Use your loyalty cards.  There is nothing wrong with using the store loyalty cards.  They can also help save you money.  A couple of weeks ago I received 2 $4 off coupons for my next trips to the store by just using my loyalty card.  You never know when you might get coupons that really will help you out.
  • If possible, try to buy some of your items on sale, don’t over stock up on the item, but know how often the item goes on sale and be willing to make sure you have enough to get through to what you want.
  • Also, just because a store is having a 5 for $5 sale or something doesn’t mean you have to buy all 5 to get the special price, especially if it is not something that you don’t use that much of, but do need to stock up on.  Now, if you will really use all 5 of them, or whatever the amount is, then by all means, go for it.  Also know what you can substitute for some things.  Maybe if you don’t use that much cornstarch you can use flour to thicken up things instead of corn starch.
  • Try to group your errands together so that you aren’t making many trips to do things.  What kind of errands are able to be completed at the same time?  This will save gas, but also allow you to get more done at home, especially if you are a freelancer.  Try not to make a special trip to the store for just one thing unless it is necessary.
  • Also, there are some stores known for being able to give lower prices on their items.  But you need to take into consideration the amount of gas that is used to get to the store.  Maybe you have a local grocery store that you can go to and still save money.  Now if you can group that store with other errands you have to run, then by all means it is worth going to the store that will save you more money.

Goals for 2012…

When it comes to 2012 I do have some goals for me personally along with professionally in my freelancing work.  Many are combining both while some are for just one area or the other.

Here are some of my goals:

  • Work on my freelancing rate.  Providing me with a raise at least once a quarter.   This needs will be done by either changing my rate on my profile or working with my clients.
  • Make sure the contracts I work on are a good match for not only me, but for the client.  Make sure that the rate matches and if not work with the client, which means there will be some negotiations that will need to take place.  I need to make sure I don’t out bid myself, but also make sure that I am making it worth it for both the client and myself.
  • Only take on contracts that use my strengths.  I need to even look at the current contracts, I need to consider everything.
  • Save money, not only with work, but for the home.  How can I be creative with what I have.  For example, how can I use what I have in my cabinets and still feed my family healthy meals.

I am sure that I will continue to add or even tweak my goals.  This just means I am visiting them and making sure they work for me and my family.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!!  May God bless you in the coming year.

I feel blessed that I am a freelancer.  I enjoy being a stay at home wife and mom while working from home.  Using oDesk has been an answer to prayer for my family.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with many people so maybe you can either learn from my mistakes or gain a better understanding of freelancing.  I also hope others will share their experience of freelancing as well.

Pay Rate for Your Work

When freelancing, whether you are working through something like oDesk or on your own, it is important to make sure that you are not under pricing or over pricing yourself.  You should be  competitive, but you also should be making money and make it worth your time and effort while also doing the same for the client.

I found a blog article that was really good talking about having a rate that is good.  Giving Yourself a Raise would be a good one to read.  This has some good information, regardless if you are on oDesk or another site or working completely for yourself.

Another suggestion for those who work for oDesk or other sites would be to make it so the real rate that the client will see would be a round number like $12.  That would mean your hourly rate would be $10.80.  That may seem odd, but it is easier for the client to figure out how much they would be paying you for work.  Then every so often you would change your rate, which gives you a raise with new clients.  Then after working with a client for some time you would ask them to give you a raise. By waiting awhile you are able to show them why you are worth the raise.

I have the occasional contract that is still at $8/hour, but I understand that circumstance for that one client.  But that is not a regular thing I do for everyone. My current rate on oDesk is $12/hour, which includes the oDesk fee.  I will make a change in that rate either later in the winter or early spring.

If a client ends a contract because you ask for a raise, it is a good time to end the contract.  Then you will be able to move on to another contract that would be willing to pay the rate you have set.  I had to do this back this spring.  I had asked for a raise because I had been with this contract for a year and hadn’t asked for a raise.  I said because of what I had been able to do to help him, I thought I should get a raise.  I didn’t hear a response for a while, so I followed up and was given a reason why he didn’t think he could give me a raise.  I said that then maybe it was time to end the contract and we both move on.  I have since been able to get other contracts that are willing to pay me at my new rate.

If the client is happy with your work and really wants to keep you on their project they will be happy to give you the raise.  It is important to have time before the raise will go into effect.  A good suggestion from the article I liked to in this blog suggested they happen at the beginning of the new year or the beginning of a new quarter, which I had never thought about.


Getting Ready for 2012…

I know, why think of 2012 when Christmas hasn’t even come yet?  Well, in freelancing, it is important to get a good start on the new year.  Getting started well in the beginning of the year can set the tone for the rest of the year.

For me, I am happy with how well freelancing has gone for me.  It has improved and I have really been able to see how it has helped my family financially.  I am going to continue to do that and increase what I make this year.

In order to do that I need to do take the following steps:

  • Review 2011 and see what went well and what didn’t go so well.
  • Review my goals and see what needs to change for the coming year.
  • Make the necessary changes to keep going at the level I am now, or to increase.  For example, do I need to set a goal of applying for X number of jobs?  Do I need to change my goal for what I plan on making each month?

By reviewing what went well this year and what didn’t go well, I can make the necessary changes to keep going and even do better.

I have to say this is one of the few things I have done from home that I have done well at.  I was an independent consultant for one of those home sale businesses.  It was good, but not for me, as pushing people to buy things isn’t my strongest suite.  I can write a cover letter that explains what I can do to help someone, which is a totally different story.

One of the big reasons I like doing freelancing is because I can stay home with the family, help the family financially.  When looking at all the options for helping the family, I can do a better job by being at home to raise the kids, take care of the house and work from home.  So knowing what we need as a family, I am able to do that by working from home.

So what will you be doing next year?

The Job Contract – Is There a Time to Just End it?

There are many times that you have started a contract it is important to keep the communication open.  Many times they may forget what you are able to do or not able to do, or think that this is the one time you are willing to just do it for them, which will continue to happen once you start that.

One example from something recently came up from yesterday, Thursday, December 15, 2011.  I had worked a job where I answer questions.  I am given a list of a amount of questions and only had answer a few less than I was given.  I do not write on Adult Content, period.  I was not able to write the total some answers that are needed because I either had to write in Spanish, which I don’t write or speak in fluently.  Then I also had the rest of the questions as Adult Content. When I turned in what I was able to complete I explained why they didn’t get the entire numbers and explained they either didn’t have to pay me at all or could pay me only a portion of the contract amount.  They paid me the entire amount and ended the contract.  I am fine with that because I will not compromise on my standard or morals.  I had told them from the beginning what I wouldn’t write on and they said that was fine because I could usually find enough other questions to answer.  I didn’t find out about writing in Spanish until this particular set of questions.

Another reason to end a contract is because you have been with a company long enough and you ask for a raise.  I asked a past contract for a raise because of the length of time I had been with them and how I had been able to help them with what they hired me for.  They gave me the run around about giving me the raise, so I ended the contract.  You may have started at one rate, but either your experience has improved while working with them, you have been there for a while and/or they are asking more from you.  You need to keep up with others in your industries.  If you are new to the freelancing arena, you may need to start a little lower, but don’t stay there though, but do it gradually.  For those who work with oDesk it has been suggested the amount seen by the potential employer is an even number like $12, which means what you actually get $10.80.  Then every few months as you gain experience you can change it a bit using this suggestion and then new projects will be giving you that rate.  For those on fixed rates you might talk to the employer after some time, especially if their ad said something about a raise as things go well with the contract.

If the contract is one you feel you need to keep, but the raise question or wanting you to do things you aren’t comfortable with or say you won’t do is a problem, then by all means keep the job.  But remember it is important to be  true to yourself.

Knowing What Jobs to Take and What Jobs To Just Leave

Many times when freelancing, whether on your own or through a place like oDesk, it is important to know when to accept a job, continue with a job or just leave a job alone, you also know not even apply for the job.

Things to consider before taking on a new freelancing contract:

  • It is important to know your work load.  It is important to know what is going on personally along with work.  Keeping up with your due dates is important.
  • If possible, checking out their pay history with other freelancers.  Seeing how they have paid the others will help you out.  If they don’t pay or don’t pay well, then it is better to not take them.
  • Your gut feeling while talking with or interviewing with them.  This is important because they are not being open or honest with you.

I just had a job that I had applied for, but during the attempt to have an interview I had a feeling that things were going to go well.  So I let them know that if we didn’t chat through Skype or a hire would happen, then the job won’t go through.  Needless to say, the job didn’t continue.

Sometimes a job you think will be a good match ends up giving the job to someone else.  I have an example from today.  There was a job that asked me to join the interview process.  I was honest about my experience and thought maybe they would hire me.  Then I found out that they hired someone else.

There are days that it doesn’t bother me if they don’t hire me and other days I wonder what happened.  Also, I don’t feel bad if I decline a potential job that has asked me join the interview process because it just isn’t a good match.  I would rather not get a job or accept a job just to get money coming in, when  it isn’t a great fit.  Right now could just not be a good time for that job.  If I am right for the company another job that is right will be available at the right time.

I work from home to help the family financially, but when it cuts in on what is going on with the family it is not really a good job for me or my family.